Album: The Ordinary Boys

Over the Counter Culture, B-UNIQUE
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The Independent Culture

Their decision to perform in obscure British backwaters, rather than at the usual big-city sheds, shows that, like their labelmates Mull Historical Society, The Ordinary Boys favour the small-scale over the corporate, which is to their credit. Sadly, the comparisons end there, as the group attack the daily grind afflicting proletarian Britain in a form of lumpen pop-punk riffing that combines the spiky assertiveness of The Jam with the dismissive snobbery of Morrissey: a quintessentially English sound for a typically English attitude. There is, however, a sharp intelligence behind the lyrics: withering jibes at consumerismand the brain-deadening impact of tabloid culture are elegantly crafted in songs such as "Maybe Someday" and "Talk Talk Talk". But the band shoot themselves in the foot with "The List Goes on", whose introductory couplet - "Radio-play just depresses me today/ Why is it so throwaway?" - indulges the kind of self-reflexive, navel-gazing diatribe on the music scene that helped to corral the exuberance of indie-rock in the first place. And what about that massive beam in their own eye, reflected in the grim predictability of their meat-and-spuds rock riffs? The grim irony of their singing, "Originality is so passé," over such old-hat backing seems to have escaped them completely.